“It Wasn’t Bad, It Was… Different”
The Words No Man Ever Wants To Hear.
In fact, being told we are ‘different’ is something we try our hardest to avoid. We want to fit in, be accepted by society, a member of a tribe, and generally believe that we are part of the gang.
But uniqueness is what makes us special.
Don’t worry, darling, we all know you’re a fabulous unicorn under that lockdown attire of grey sweatpants, the same three comfy t-shirts worn on repeat and the silent, guilty knowledge that wearing the same underwear for two days running has become the norm.
The deep-seated desire to fit in is part of human nature. Back when the only threats we faced were the local sabre-toothed tiger and a second wave could only be witnessed on a beach, we simply had to be part of the tribe to survive.
Being part of a group meant safety, food, communication, shelter and the opportunity to create mini-me’s (happy ending), who would, in turn, learn that being part of the group was essential. If you had the misfortune of being ostracised from the tribe, then your story would be a short one (unhappy ending).
Or, to put it another way, being part of a group meant our ancestors would live longer. If you started to become the stone-age equivalent of that person filling their supermarket trolley with microwave meals for one whilst wearing their mask around their chin, you would be checking-out of life before too long.
But if this is really the case, why is being different so appealing?
We all lead relatively similar lives.
Controversial, maybe. But it’s true.
Admittedly, we all have different families, baggage (the emotional kind, not Louis Vuitton vs Samsonite), adventures, hopes, dreams and aspirations. And that’s no bad thing.
But on a basic level, we all generally like to live in a house, have nice conversations with people, eat from a plate and wear shoes on our feet not on our hands.
To do otherwise would draw stares, whispers behind cupped hands..and let’s just say social distancing would no longer be an issue.
But deep-down, a small part of us still wants to be different. That’s why we love the characters like Marlon, Elton, Gaga and Freddie (not me, the other one), because they all proudly stand out from the crowd and care little for the consequences.
We find ourselves trapped in a twilight zone of approval: wanting to fit in whilst trying to prove we’re different from all the rest.
Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out?
We try to be different, but only within certain boundaries.
For example, we might like to demonstrate our uniqueness by wearing a jazzy pair of trousers…but wearing them on our head would be seen as weird.
(Although there is a certain photo of me from circa 2007 that I’ve been trying to remove from the realms of the internet.)
But why can’t we be truly different?
Obviously, let’s not break any laws here, but we are constantly bombarded with mediocrity and we choose to accept it – despite wanting to do things differently – because we don’t want to be seen as breaking the mould.
The same routines, the same dilemmas, the same spam emails that we delete without a second thought, the same TV shows that we only half-watch because we are scrolling through the same social media pages, the same negative drains on our energy that prove to be frustrating but not quite frustrating enough to do anything about.
We accept the same old same old, despite wanting something different.
And I’m by no means perfect, by way, because I put myself in this bracket as well.
But a little while ago, I started a little experiment.
I decided to do things differently.
Go Forth And Conquer
I was getting so frustrated with being bombarded by the same old offers of ‘guidance’.
You probably know the pattern, after all, you would have seen it before.
It goes a bit like this:
See something interesting on the internet.
Sign up for a ‘free guide’, a ‘five-steps-to-achieve-whatever-I’m-trying-to-sell-you’ or a ‘secret-tips-to-make-you-fitter / younger / more intelligent / richer / more attractive’.
Spend the rest of your life getting bombarded by generic spam emails (potentially addressed to ‘Dear <name>’ for the extra-personal touch) which you don’t read, don’t care about, and offer you no real, tangible support whatsoever.
How very different.
When I started this journey, I wanted to communicate with people. I wanted to help them.
So everyone told me the same thing: Get an email list, send lots of spammy emails that no-one will read, and sit back in that warm glow of knowing the only action anyone ever took as a result would be to delete the email with a cruel swipe of their finger.
Reader gets pissed off. I don’t get to help them. Lose – lose.
But, hey, at least I was doing it the same way as everyone else.
So I wanted to do something different, something that no-one else did.
What if I spent a good few hours of my time reading and researching the very best insights from the world’s leading thinkers in the world of psychology, motivation, performance and positive thinking?
And what if, instead of – at best – copy & pasting it into an email, or – at worse – pretending all this insight was my own, I pulled out the very best knowledge, sprinkled my own best bits of reflection, experience and practical advice and wrote it all out?
And to top it all off, what I printed it on high-quality paper, hand-signed it, risked some third-degree burns by lovingly adding a wax seal, and had it hand-delivered to people’s homes every month?
So that’s what I did.
I realised I could send the same generic email as everyone else: something that would be deleted without a second thought.
Or, I could spend a bit of time, love and attention, and do things properly. The old-fashioned way.
Back in the old days, I used to love receiving my monthly issue of Beano or Expressive Dance Monthl….um, I mean Men’s Health. Every day I used to run downstairs when I heard the postperson, eagerly watching the letterbox with eyes closed and fingers crossed.
I wanted to recreate that feeling.
Let’s face it, when was the last time you received a letter? A real, proper letter. Not something you were too busy to read that went straight in the bin, or required you consume three chapters of Tony Robbins before you plucked up the courage to open it and discover how big the bill was going to be.
When was the last time you received a letter that would help you conquer your goals?
That’s why I created CONQR.
For a few months, I was only sending this out to a small, select group of people, but now I’ve decided to open it up to everyone.
So if you want to do something different – if you want to take some real action – you can find out more here.
If you don’t fancy it, that’s absolutely fine.
Have I told you about my email list….?